Whether you’re just starting out in the building trade, or you’re a veteran looking to splash some cash on a new toy, it’s always worthwhile finding out what other contractors are carrying in their toolkit. Some like to keep things old school by putting their trust in more manual tools, while others are always in search of the latest gadget.
Although your tools depend largely on the type of projects that you do, there are some you shouldn’t be without. So kick back with a brew and let us run down our list of the 10 absolute essentials.
A must-have piece of kit. Most people choose the hassle-free option of a cordless drill, though if you’re going to follow suit, make sure you get an 18-volt model with a couple of batteries, as this will give you enough power and battery charge to last throughout the day. Many drills also double as an electric screwdriver, saving you space and money. Top tip: Go for a drill with more than one year’s warranty on both drill and batteries.
When it comes to woodworking, a saw is a basic requirement. However, there’s no need to wear yourself out by using a manual hand saw. A reciprocating saw is an extremely versatile power tool that can deliver around 3,000 strokes a minute. This allows it to cut through most building materials, from wood to steel and copper. Just remember when using one to protect yourself with adequate safety gear.
- Oscillating multi-tool
Using rapid side-to-side movement, the versatility of these gadgets lends them to a wide variety of tasks. From cutting and sanding, to polishing and wood detailing, the range of interchangeable accessories available means you can replace several tools with just one device. Investing in one can save you both money and hard work.
- Tape measure
There aren’t many jobs that don’t require an accurate measurement at some point, so purchasing a good retractable steel tape measure is a no-brainer. Go for one with a minimum extendable length of 5 metres, though the longer the better.
- Spirit levels
Liquid bubble levels can be bought in packs that include a long and short version, ideal for when you need to measure straight levels in confined spaces. If you’re more technologically-inclined, then you could plump for a laser level for better accuracy and adaptability.
With stricter regulations surrounding construction dust coming into force, it’s essential that you’re able to keep your work area free of harmful materials. Whether you’re drilling, sawing, or sanding, you’re guaranteed to be working in an atmosphere of dirt and dust. Help keep the site clean and safe by investing in a trustworthy industrial vacuum or dust extractor.
While nail guns take away most of the effort, you can’t beat a trusty claw hammer for giving things a good old whack. Avoid those with wooden shafts, as these tend to deliver more of a shock to the hand on impact; fiberglass or steel is a better bet for comfort. Comes with a range of swear words for when you hit your thumb.
Unless you’re over seven feet tall, chances are you’re going to need a step ladder. Resist the temptation to stand on a piece of furniture and get yourself a durable set of steps for those hard-to-reach tasks. Some models are made with non-conductive materials like fiberglass to reduce risks on electrical jobs.
The most important bit of kit you’ll ever own is your body; if you get injured you might find yourself unable to work until you recover. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re equipped with reliable safety gear. A strong pair of gloves will help protect your hands, goggles will shield your eyes, steel toe cap boots will safeguard your feet, and a mask will keep you from breathing in harmful materials. Also, when you’re working on a construction site, PPE regulations require you to wear a hardhat to protect your noggin.
And last but not least –
Perfect for marking up materials or for just doing the crossword. Ideally perched behind one ear, or tucked into a pocket away from light-fingered workmates.
We hope our list has given you some food for thought for when the time comes to treat yourself to a new tool. If you’d like to find out more about any of the options out there for contractors, then get in touch.
And if any of your power tools need a little TLC, don’t forget we have our own repair workshop where our engineers service and repair a wide range of professional power tools.